Tag: medical apps

Challenges Encountered By Medical Mobile App Developers and Possible Solutions

By Harnil Oza, CEO, Hyperlink InfoSystem.

Harnil Oza
Harnil Oza

Today, the level at which the vast majority of us place our reliance on mobile devices for the completion of so many of our tasks every day, even some of the more complex and daunting tasks, has risen so high. All over the globe, so many users from every field now increasingly make use of their tablets and smartphones for their highest of multitasking abilities and their effectiveness.

Decades ago, physicians, paramedics and other healthcare providers had to rely on costly medical equipment to assist their patients in moments of emergencies. But with the significant advancement that has been recorded in the mobile app market of today, perhaps all of these things have changed. The vast majority of medics and paramedics today now make use of very easy-to-use, data-driven and less expensive mobile gadgets and the medical mobile apps that are found in them.

As a result of the fact that everyone of us make use of mobile devices on a daily basis, having to learn the method in which a particular medical mobile app can be employed is not going to consume too much time for a skilled paramedic or medic. A well-established, well-tested medical mobile app also offers rather accurate results; therefore, for physicians who are on the move at all times, this could be a very useful innovation.

As a result of the significant impacts of medical mobile apps in the healthcare system of today, many mobile app developers are working to develop even more medical mobile apps. However, there are still many challenges that these mobile app developers encounter while developing these apps. Below are some of these issues, and how they can be surmounted.

Predictability of results is not always accurate

No matter the level at which a mobile app developer attempts to develop an infallible medical mobile app, there is no way she or he can be utterly certain that it would be completely free of trouble, unless and until it has, as a matter of fact, been developed and sent to a specific mobile platform. There is a phase in which the app would be tested. In the course of this testing phase, specific issues may crop up, and that is the time the main trouble will come up, while attempting to solve the problem.

Unavailability of life-saving app

The immense usefulness of medical apps has been acknowledged by the United States Food and Drug Administration. As a matter of fact, research points out that there is a large number of users of smartphones who are making use of mobile apps in mobile healthcare. The number, according to research, was projected to hit a greatly surprising 500,000,000, by the end of the year 2015. But despite this development, no mobile app developer can ever lay claims to develop a life-saving app. While the apps available are efficient at testing a particular condition, they do not have the capability of granting relief to a patient that is critically ill. In addition to that, there might have been some technical irregularities or malfunction during the process of developing the app, or during its testing phase. As a result of this, such an app may be risky for use to patients.

Mobile Platforms Fragmentation

Another big challenge that developers of mobile apps encounter is the range of operating systems and mobile devices in the mobile market of today. Issues like this are hard to confront, but there are some other problems that exist. They include problems regarding network connectivity, standardization of mobile design, and so forth. Also, the development of an app for different mobile devices with mobile features that are different can come as a big challenge to the mobile app developer. Other challenges include making a choice on the ideal mobile platform or platforms and cross-platform formatting. All of these issues can pose even tougher problems for the app developer. All of these challenges may jointly lead to a medical app that is not completely effective or does not meet the requirements of the end user.

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How Monolithic Medical Apps Hinder mHealth

Guest post by Khomushka Andrey, project coordinator, Sciencesoft.

Health professionals will hardly ever love documenting. By making tedious tasks easier and eliminating paperwork, medical apps spare time for doctors to focus on their patients more. However, physicians would rather use paper charts and sticky notes than try to figure out what goes wrong with the software.

The reason why mHealth for medical practices, clinics, hospitals and other care organizations might stay unused is that developers tend to build monolithic mobile copies of medical desktop solutions, trying to adapt the complex functionality to smaller screens. Off-the-shelf software vendors generally stick to this large-screen approach, as their goal is to cover the needs of as many customers as possible.

According to Healthcare IT News and the AMA (American Medical Association), however, physicians welcome a more customized approach. “Physicians have found that most EHRs lack usability and interoperability as necessary features for supporting high-quality patient care,” says James L. Madara, MD, CEO of the AMA.

So thinks the AAPS (Association of American Physicians and Surgeons), which represents the end users of such apps. Executive director Jane M. Orient, MD, states that “The costly, clunky systems the government demands are worsening the problems and even driving some software experts back to paper.” And just to emphasize it, according to Healthcare IT News, 80 percent out of 571 physicians surveyed feel that EHRs impede patient care and almost half claim that patient safety is at risk.

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Medical Apps are Here to Stay: So How Do We Keep the Value and Lose the Risk?

Domingo Guerra
Domingo Guerra

Guest post by Domingo Guerra, president & co-founder, Appthority.

Last year, 2013, was a big year for mobile applications, including medical and health-related apps. As many medical centers have sought to increase patient engagement, improve outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, digital tools, such as iPads, smartphones, online portals and text messaging in hospitals are rapidly becoming commonplace. Smart health tech has gotten serious. Patients and doctors alike use medical apps. Physicians can access symptom checkers, drug information, medical calculators and more via smartphone and tablet apps. Patients can use apps to find doctors, set appointments, order prescriptions, receive test results, track calories, measure their heart rates and even monitor chronic diseases like diabetes. Patients and doctors agree that the immediate feedback and increase in available data will change the face of medicine. But will the face of privacy change with it?

Acquiring huge amounts of personal data from individuals could enable a more personalized and data driven approach to medicine. This is a very seductive concept, based on the implicit assumption that the more healthcare providers know about the patient, from analyzing his or her data, the better (and more customized) care the patient will receive. However, personal data, now collected and collated by the user’s health gadget, will be incredibly valuable to more than just the patient and the provider. Devices, whether they’re Google Glass or fitness wristbands will need to be integrated with newly developed apps, and existing apps will need to be heavily adapted to work properly. These technology integrations can potentially open back doors that allow cybercriminals to enter and extract sensitive data.

The aggregated data gathered from a wearable wristband capable of tracking a user’s heart rate, and expiration rates along with their blood sugar level and, of course, location can offer a truly comprehensive view of a user. Yes, it’s still early in the healthcare wearables space, but it was “early” in the mobile and BYOD spaces not long ago. Just as BYOD has led to security concerns for sensitive corporate data, these new healthcare devices should be a concern for personal privacy. As users are now literally plugging themselves into the Internet, it’s important to remember that cyber attackers can gain details about daily routines, patterns, and lifestyle, as well as location. This private information, tied together in a dossier that can include a user’s location, income, health status, and other attributes such as sexual orientation, could be of interest to many other groups.

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